ASCB Minorities Affairs Committee Program Deadlines
Marine Biological Laboratories Course Application
Friday Harbor Laboratories Summer Quarter Application
ASCB/MAC Visiting Professor Summer, 2000 Application
These ASCB MAC programs are funded through a National Institutes of Health NIGMS Minorities Access to Research Careers grant. The ASCB Education Committee solicits nominations for The Bruce Alberts Award for Distinguished Contributions to Science Education. The nomination letter should include a description of the nominee's innovative and sustained activities with particular emphasis on the local, regional and/or national impact of the nominee's activities.
Send letter of nomination, letters of support and CV if possible to:
20th Annual EB Wilson Award Call for Nominations
Nominators must be members of the ASCB but nominees need not be. The nominating package should include the candidate’s CV and no fewer than three and no more than five letters of support.
Nominations should be received by March 31, 2000, and be sent to:
For questions about the Award, contact the ASCB at (301) 530-7153.
The ASCB Public Policy Committee solicits nominations for the 7th annual ASCB Public Service Award for outstanding national leadership in support of biomedical research
Past awardees are:Harold Varmus, J. Michael Bishop, Congressman George Gekas, Marc Kirschner, Congressman John Porter and Senator Tom Harkin.
Any ASCB member may submit a nomination.
Letters must be received by March 31.
The second annual publication of Find Out Why, for students in grades 2-3, is available free of charge from the National Science Foundation. Contact Janell Richardson at (703) 306-1070 or see the website.
39th ASCB Annual Meeting
Annual Meeting Special Events
Bruce Alberts Award
Bruce Alberts Award
The Bruce Alberts Award for Excellence in Science Education was presented to Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education. Alberts' introduction of Scott follows:
It is a pleasure to be able to be here to present this ASCB award for Science Education to someone who has made a huge difference to us all.
But first, let me state, as I did last year, that this award should be named after someone else after a decade or so. It is important that the award carry the name of someone whose science is still fresh to make the critical point to young scientists that paying attention to education as a civic duty is an indispensable part of the life of a scientist. Science moves so fast, with its ethos of continuous progress, that active scientists naturally assume that whatever we older folks did in the past should have been quite easy to discover. At any rate, reputations are very fleeting among scientists. Possibly, someone in this audience will have their name attached to this honor after me, and I think that this is only appropriate.
The ASCB selection committee had no problem in determining this year's awardee. Eugenie Scott is the Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, a tiny non-profit organization located near Berkeley, California. Its purpose is to "explain the nature of science to the public," day in and day out. This effort has put Genie on TV — Donahue, Geraldo, Firing Line, Cross-Fire, and so on — as well as on the radio. There she has often come face-to-face with people who think quite differently than scientists do about such issues as biological evolution, the age of the earth, or the age of the universe.
As one of her nominators wrote, "Genie has been the primary voice of reason in this country, offering a détente between the positions of the committed religious fundamentalist and the pragmatic scientist, the harassed school principal and the perturbed parent. Not only is she capable of dealing substantially with the attacks on evolutionary science, she is both sensitive and deeply knowledgeable in exploring the religious issues."
Eugenie received her Ph.D in anthropology from the University of Missouri in 1974 for a thesis entitled "Dental Evolution in Pre-Columbian Coastal Peru." She then served for 12 years as a professor of anthropology, writing increasingly about evolution debates, before moving to California to begin her second career as an educator of all Americans.
Her task is a critical one. The issue today is not just about whether or not biological evolution should be taught in schools. The real threat concerns the role of science in our society.
Because science derives explanations from confirmable data, it has been tremendously successful in explaining natural phenomena. Scientists have developed explanations for the movements of the sun and stars, the structure of matter, the history of life on Earth, and many other natural occurrences. By the same means, we also have deciphered which substances in our environment are harmful to humans, developed cures for diseases, and generated the knowledge need-ed to produce innumerable labor-saving devices.
To disregard what we know from science for the sake of political expediency threatens the rationality that our society depends on to make wise judgments. This is why the debate over the Kansas State School Board decision represents such a critical wake-up call for scientists. We cannot take our world views for granted. And we must work much harder to spread the understanding and values of science throughout society. For example, when we teach first-year college students only the "facts" that have been learned through science, we fail to give them the understanding required to determine what is and what is not science. They graduate with no way of distinguishing scientific knowledge from any other way of knowing, leaving society extremely vulnerable to misinformation of all kinds.
No one has taken up the cause of science with more energy, courage and skill than Eugenie Scott. It is with great pleasure that I present her with the ASCB [Bruce Alberts] Science Education Award.
College Student Program
Congress 101: How to Talk Science with Your Representative and Why
Representative Connie Morella (R-MD), Chair of U.S. House Science Subcommittee on Technology whose Maryland district includes the NIH, joined ASCB officer-elect Larry Goldstein of the University of California, San Diego and HHMI in "Congress 101," a discussion on how scientists should talk science with their Congressional representative, and why it is important.
Morella and Goldstein focused the discussion on process. Morella described the bipartisan support for biomedical research on Capitol Hill and emphasized the importance of constituents communicating with their Representatives. Much of the presentation involved audience participation.
Key points from the presentation were:
Scientists should learn in advance if their Representative is a member of the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus. If so, thank her. If not, urge her to join.
Congressional Liaison Committee
On December 13, Congressional Liaison Committee members gathered at the ASCB Annual Meeting to discuss the organizing successes of the past year. Congress increased the funding for the NSF and agreed to another 15% increase for the NIH, keeping the NIH on track to double its budget over five years.
Tom Pollard, Congressional Liaison Committee Chair for the Joint Steering Committee, reminded the 70 people present that the CLC effort relies on biomedical scientists at the grassroots. ASCB Public Policy Director Tim Leshan introduced Ellen Murray, Clerk for the Senate Minority Labor/HHS Committee, who spoke about the importance of contacting Members of Congress. Murray noted that the science community has a unique role to play in conveying to Members of Congress the importance of biomedical research. By emphasizing science rather than politics, CLC members — through the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus, Capitol Hill Days and district meetings — have been able to persuade their Representatives to continue to increase federal funding for biomedical science. Murray commented that one person can make an impact and that frequent contact with a Representative is important in creating a real, positive effect on the legislative and budgetary process.
Three CLC members, Judith Glaven, Rebecca Hughey and Monica Torres, gave impassioned testimonials about how Capitol Hill Days changed the way they viewed Members of Congress and the legislative process: they feel less intimidated and more active in communicating with their Members of Congress, providing them with vital information on biomedical research.
Rebecca Hughey described a visit with her Representative and two colleagues, in which they discussed how hospitals are critical for rural communities to fill the old manufacturing void.
Other CLC members spoke about the general lack of understanding by Members of Con-gress about where and how biomedical research dollars are spent. They suggested that a good way to educate a Representative is to extend an invitation to tour a lab and explain how science impacts the community.
Larry Goldstein used his relationship with his Congressman as an example of how a scientist can influence the position of a Member. At first, Goldstein was unsure if talking about his science would be sufficiently compelling. Now he is a regular advisor to his Congressman — especially important around controversial issues that previously his conservative Representative would have rejected out of hand.
The Education and Minorities Affairs Committees remain committed to this shared feature at the Annual Meeting. MAC travel award recipients staffed the booth with Committee members. Meeting attendees were provided information on programs and fellowships of interest to students and teaching scientists, including copies of the new ASCB brochure, Exploring the Cell (see page 16), MAC member Joe Hall's compilation of "Summer 2000 Undergraduate Research Programs in Cell Biology" (see page 45) and reprints of EdComm member Bob Blystone's regular column, Reviews of Websites of Educational Interest.
EdComm member Sally Elgin selected Workshop, poster or Forum presentations that would be enhanced by access to the Internet and invited presenters to expand their presentations at the booth; included were Richard Hershberger of Carlow College who demonstrated "Darwin 2000: a Bioinformatics Education Web Site Supporting Student Research in Evolution and Molecular Biology"; C.D. Watters of Middlebury College who demonstrated "Investigating Membrane Structure and Fluidity with Computer Simulations"; Robert Blystone of Trinity University who demonstrated "Teaching Undergraduate Biology Quantitatively Using Scientific Visualization and Graphic Display"; A. Malcolm Campbell and Erin Mooney of Davidson College who demonstrated "From Genome to Cloned Gene and Expressed Protein in One Semester"; Jeffrey Newman of Lycoming College who demonstrated "A Developmental Approach to Integrating Bioinformatics with Laboratory Experiments in Several Undergraduate Courses"; J.B. Piperberg of Millersville University who demonstrated a "Spreadsheet Simulation of Enzyme Kinetics: A Cell Biology Laboratory Exercise"; and Melanie Fields of Sidwell Friends School and Mark Ellisman of the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research (NCMIR) at the University of California, San Francisco who demonstrated their "Telemicroscopy" program.
The ASCB Education Committee workshop on Genomics: How Do We Teach in the Middle of a Revolution?, co-chaired by Sarah Elgin and Malcolm Campbell, considered the changes in the knowledge base and research/teaching tools in the area of genomics, and examined several different strategies for bringing the field into the classroom and student lab. About 140 people attended. At the meeting:
Education Initiative Forum
On Monday through Wednesday of the Annual Meeting, the Education Committee offers brief presentations of interest to science educators during the morning coffee break. The programs are organized by EdComm member Chris Watters of Middlebury College.
Robert Blystone of Trinity University discussed Teaching Undergraduate Biology Quantitatively Using Scientific Visualization and Graphic Display. He observed that techniques associated with scientific visualization can move two-dimensional anatomical data into four dimensions and increase student comprehension. Noting that the graphic display of data permits the student to move to a greater level of interaction with a data set, Blystone demonstrated several graphic exercises. A PowerPoint version of the presentation is available.
Alternatives to the Use of Animals in Research (AUAR) was presented by Joanne Zurlo of Johns Hopkins University, who noted the dramatic advances in the use of alternative study methods. High throughput screening, use of bioluminescent assays, and genetically engineered, differentiated cells in culture, particularly human cells, were discussed.
Sam Silverstein of Columbia University described the Columbia University summer program initiated in 1990. Silverstein reported that for at least two years after teachers complete the program, students of participating teachers show significantly higher interest and achievement in science than students of non-participating teachers. Columbia has been awarded a $1.6 million NSF grant to study teacher-scientist programs at seven sites throughout the U.S.
Francis Collins, Director of the NIH National Human Genome Research Institute, delivered an informative, stimulating lecture on the status and future directions of the Human Genome Project to high school students at the ASCB meeting.
Over 300 students and their teachers from the Washington-Baltimore area attended the session. In addition to describing the excitement around the completion of the human genome sequence, Collins made students aware of the related ethical, legal and social issues. Collins remained for twenty minutes following his address to answer students' questions, which ranged from DNA sequence patents to ethical questions of humans altering their own evolution.
Following Collins' presentation, students spent two hours visiting selected exhibitors' booths, where they received demonstrations in small groups.Minorities Poster Session
Twenty-two posters were presented at the Minorities Poster Session to provide additional opportunities for minority scientists to network with interested senior scientists and to provide guidance and reinforcement to young minority scientists. Cash awards for outstanding posters were sponsored by the Leadership Alliance. Winners were recognized at the MAC Awards Luncheon by Dan Chavez of Southern Illinois University, Co-chair with Don Kimmel of Davidson College of the Poster Awards Committee.
Minorities Poster Session Winners
Minorities Saturday Session
The Minorities Saturday Session, organized by MAC Chair J.K. Haynes and Eva McGhee of the University of California, San Francisco, featured speakers offering opportunities and advice for potential researchers at and/or facilitated by the NIH, the Department of Energy and the National Academies.
Alfred Johnson, President of the NIH Black Scientists Association, described the purposes of the NIHBSA: to provide a support network for black scientific and administrative personnel; to work toward full minority representation at all occupational and executive levels; to monitor institutional support of minorities, and to facilitate community interaction.
Keynote speaker Bruce Jackson of Boston University suggested that involvement in grammar school science programs is the best method to increase the number of minorities in science. "Science is a profession that must be taught consistently and vigorously... Finish your degree first and get good. Then go out and [nurture] the scientific and intellectual prowess of primary school students," he urged.
Jackson also reflected philosophically on pursuing a career as a minority in science "There is always going to be this effort," he cautioned, "to minimize your achievements... and unless you have a very stalwart opinion of yourself, it's going to work... people will tell you what you cannot do. Do it anyway," Jackson insisted.
David Burgess, ASCB member and President of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, also underscored the importance of establishing one's own scientific reputation to be better able to help foster the interest and careers of young people. In addition, he emphasized the importance of study section service, as well as advisory councils to NIH institutes.
Burgess praised the ASCB for its advocacy for biomedical research on Capitol Hill, and challenged the Society to lobby Congress "to address the issues which President Clinton has identified as national priorities... health and educational disparities." He noted that Representative Connie Morella (R-MD) (see page 4) had appointed a Committee to address the issues of advancement of minorities and women in science.
Burgess indicated optimism about current trends for minorities in science. He noted that 14% of undergraduate natural science graduates are minorities, about the same as the population of minority college students. Burgess remarked that research opportunities for minorities are underutilized, especially summer research opportunities for undergraduates, which provide vital experience and contacts for admission to graduate schools. "No, there aren't enough [opportunities]," he admitted, "but it's encouraging how many there are."
Christine O'Brien of the National Research Council suggested that it is more important for faculty who write fellowship recommendations to know the applicant and her research well than that the recommender be well-known. In applications, "don't hold back," O'Brien urged, "when talking about your excitement and dreams for future research." She also advised that if an application is not successful, to ask for the written comments made by reviewers and consider reapplying.
Daniel Drell of the Department of Energy and Eve Barak of the National Science Foundation discussed a variety of opportunities at all educational levels.
WICB/Education Committee Careers Discussion Lunch
This year's luncheon, organized by Sandra Masur, Mary Ann Stepp and Trina Armstrong, was an amazing success. 484 people signed up to attend (a 16% increase over 417 in 1998), suggesting that this program is filling an important need.
Table leaders were remarkably accomplished individuals who generously gave time and information to the participants.
The presentation at the lunch of Junior and Senior WICB awards to Yixian Zheng and Ursula Goodenough by Zena Werb provided an appreciative and appropriate audience.
This year, Biotech & Industry was the most commonly designated discussion topic. Bioinformatics as an emerging area of great interest was added to the traditional topics on university oriented research, job application strategies and other career issues. The initial feedback was enthusiastically positive. Decisions for next year's programs will draw from information gathered from participants.
WICB Evening Panel
Hundreds of ASCB members attended a panel on Negotiating Strategies, sponsored by the ASCB Women in Cell Biology Committee, where they were treated to two lively role-playing scenarios demonstrating the do's and don't's of negotiation in a laboratory environment. Eva Nogales and Keith Yamamoto represented a highly recruited assistant professor prospect and a department chair, respectively. Joan Brugge and David Botstein represented the department chair and a senior faculty member in need of more department resources.
The demonstrations combined humor and serious advice from the panelists, and the evening sent many away with new insight into some of the issues, foibles, mistakes and caveats in a successful negotiation.
Building on the success of this event, the WICB plans to organize a more involved negotiating program at next year's Annual Meeting.
ASCB-Zeiss Road Race
Winners of the race were: Men's 5K: Ashley Davis, Cytoskeleton, Inc.; Women's 5K: Bente Dzamba, Univ. of Virginia; Men's 10K: Andeas Merdes, Univ. of Edinburgh Women's 10K: Marjan Huizing, NICHD/NIH
Assistant Specialist Position available to study the mechanism of meiosis in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Qualifications include Ph.D. in molecular genetics or related field and at least 3 years post-doctoral lab experience. Experience with fission yeast genetics and cytology required. Initial one-year appointment with possibility of renewal contingent upon funding. Associate Specialist Position available to study the genetic control of meiosis in maize. Qualifications include Ph.D. in genetics or cytogenetics or related field and at least 6 years post-doctoral lab experience. Experience with maize genetics and cytology required. Salary commensurate with experience. Send CV to: W. Zacheus Cande, Plant and Microbial Biology Department, Koshland Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3102. Fax: 510-643-6791. Closing date: March 15, 2000. UCB is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.
Postdoctoral Candidate: Expertise in Cell Biology and Biochemistry required to investigate actin-based cell motility in phagocytic cells. Projects include: kinetic analysis of actin assembly, generation of point mutations in actin regulatory proteins, analysis of GFP transfected cells using image analysis,investigation of CapG knockout mice, and the effects of microinjecting different actin regulatory proteins on cell motility. Excellent opportunities for advancement. Be part of an exciting research team in a warm, sunny university-oriented city. Please contact: Frederick Southwick, Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry/Molecular Biology, Box 100277, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610. Email.
A Postdoctoral Position is available to investigate the possibility that vertebrate centromeres possess protein-coding genes. The project will employ laser microdissection of metaphase chromosomes, PCR amplification of dissected fragments, screening of cDNA and genomic libraries and molecular characterization of positive clones. Candidates with experience in mammalian tissue culture, mitotic chromosome selection and molecular methods including PCR and library screening and characterization are particularly encouraged to apply. Please send a CV, brief description of research experience and interests and the names of three references by April 15, 2000 to: Dr. Barbara A. Hamkalo, Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697; fax 949-824-8551; Email. The University of California is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to Excellence through Diversity.
Postdoctoral Position, Apoptosis Research. Studies of ER-mitochondrial crosstalk and calcium signaling in apoptosis and Bcl-2 action. Website. Background in biochemistry and/or molecular biology essential. NIH funded position. U.S. Citizen or permanent residency required. Send curriculum vitae and names of three references to: Dr. Clark W. Distelhorst, Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology, Case Western Reserve University Cancer Center, 10900 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106-4937. Fax: 216-368-1166. Email. Equal opportunity employer.
Postdoctoral Position. An NIH-funded postdoctoral position is available immediately to examine the roles of a newly discovered family of actin-bundling proteins, the espins (Bartles et al., 1996, J. Cell Sci. 109, 1229-1239; Bartles et al., 1998, J. Cell Biol. 143, 107-119; Chen et al., 1999, Mol. Biol. Cell 10, 4327-4339; Bartles, 2000, Curr. Opin. Cell Biol. 12, in press), in the organization and function of hair cell stereo-cilia, brush border microvilli and Sertoli cell-spermatid junctions. An integrated cell and molecular biological approach will be used to compare the structures and biochemical properties of espin isoforms, localize them at the light and electron microscopic levels during development, and examine the consequences of mutating or eliminating the different isoforms. The work will entail RACE-PCR, cloning, sequencing, recombinant protein expression and purification, in vitro binding assays, immunolocalization, yeast two-hybrid screens, in situ hybridization, targeted gene replacement, cell transfection and microdissection. Experience with these techniques is desirable. A Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology or a related discipline is required. Salary will be commensurate with NIH guidelines. Send or preferably e-mail or FAX c.v., including names and complete contact information for three references, to: Dr. James R. Bartles, Dept. of Cell and Molecular Biology, Ward Building 11-185, Northwestern University Medical School, 303 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611. FAX: 312-503-7912. E-mail. Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Postdoctoral Fellowships. Two positions are available immediately to study cell: cell interactions and signal transduction events in hematopoietic cells. Current areas of investigation include: actions of selectins and their ligands, cell cycle control in leukemic cells, and bone: bone marrow interactions. Candidates must hold a Ph.D. or equivalent degree in a biomedical science such as Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Physiology, or Pharmacology. A strong background in molecular biology, biochemistry, and cell culture is also required. Recent publications: (1) Nature Biotech. 15:1007, 1997, (2) Cell Growth & Diff. 9:639, 1998, (3) Mol. Biol. Cell 7: 209, 1996, (4) Blood 91: 4118, 1998. Salary is commensurate with experience. Send resume and three letters of recommendation to: Dr. Michael Long, c/o Vickie Roosevelt, Room 3570 MSRB-II, University of Michigan, 1150 W. Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48109. The University of Michigan is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
The ASCB is grateful to those below who have recently given gifts to support Society activities:
|Grants & Opportunities|
A new RFA entitled “New Therapies for Diabetic Foot Disease” solicits both basic and clinical applications relevant to understanding the etiology and pathogenesis of diabetic foot ulcers, and to developing effective prevention and treatment modalities. This RFA may be of interest to those who are studying the basic biology of wound healing. See the website.
The Hamdan Award for Medical Research Excellence offers three awards of Dhs.100,000 (approximately $27,000) for 1999-2000, for published articles in the following topics: genetics in diabetes, recombinant vaccines in infectious diseases, and therapy in leukemia. Send nominations by March 1 to: The General Secretariat, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences, P O Box 22252, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Tel: +971-42275-888, Fax: +97-42272-999; Email: ; Website.
The NIH has allocated $1 million to fund applications relevant to The Role of Endothelial Dysfunction in Diabetic Complications. This PA may be of interest to investigators doing basic research on endothelial cells or those studying vascular biology. See their website.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in conjunction with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, is offering 30 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow-ships. Freshmen, sophomores, women and minorities are particularly encouraged to apply. Application deadline: January 24. See their website or contact Claudia Washburn at (217) 333-7903.
|Members In The News|
Jan Hoh of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and Carolyn Larabell of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, ASCB members since 1984, have been appointed fellows to the Keith R. Porter Endowment for Cell Biology.
|Sheppard Named Local Arrangements Chair|
ASCB President Richard Hynes has appointed Dean Sheppard of UCSF Local Arrangements Chair for 2000.
Sheppard has been a member of the ASCB since 1991. The Local Arrangements Committee is responsible for the organization of Annual Meeting events including the annual Social (this year with the 40th Anniversary Committee), the High School and College Programs, the ASCB-Zeiss Run and the Restaurant Guide.
|WWW.Cell Biology Education|
The ASCB Education Committee calls attention each month to several Web sites of educational interest to the cell biology community. The Committee does not endorse nor guarantee the accuracy of the information at any of the listed sites. If you wish to comment on the selections or suggest future inclusions please send a message to Robert Blystone
These sites were checked January 21, 2000. Previous ASCB columns reviewing Educational web sites with the links to the sites may be found online.
—Robert Blystone for the ASCB Education Committee